Our Favorite Things: February 2019

If January seemed to drag, February was here and gone almost before we even knew it. It was a short but productive month, and while we haven’t been promoting any large projects lately, sometimes it feels good to work slow and steady to keep things on track. That’s one of the things we’ve learned about running a business over the past few years: it’s just as important to stay focused during slower seasons as it is during the hectic, jam-packed periods.

Here are our favorite, most inspiring things that we saw online and IRL this February.

Image of Rian Dawson’s monochromatic bedroom featuring our custom pieces.

Image of Rian Dawson’s monochromatic bedroom featuring our custom pieces.

  • Your photos. If you follow us on Instagram (and we hope you do!), then you may have noticed that we’ve started sharing our favorite customer photos on our Instagram stories. Not only does this help us to show our appreciation for your business, but we hope that it also inspires you guys and shows you how to style our pieces in your own homes.

  • Freestyle Friday. In other Instagram news: did you guys see our #1767FreestyleFriday announcement? Every Friday, we’ll be posting a one-off piece designed and created by one of our artisans in the shop. It will be available to purchase for 24 hours, so if you see something that you like, shoot us a DM to purchase one of these one-of-a-kind designs.

  • Monochrome walls. We’re always looking for new design trends for our interior projects, and lately we’ve been interested in monochrome painted walls. We’re talking walls to trim to ceiling — the more dramatic, the better. What do you guys think about this moody look?

  • Bespoke furniture details. As we continue to move more and more into the custom furniture world, we’re starting to research bespoke furniture with details that are unique specifically to that piece. You might have seen our recent post about the custom leather bench we created in collaboration with Joey from Lockeland Leatherworks, featuring milled harness leather sourced from Wickett & Craig Tannery and reinforced French seams for lots of texture and visual interest. We’re also hoping to explore more unique details and intricate designs, so if you have an idea for a piece of one-of-a-kind furniture for your home or business, shoot us an email!

  • Sunday dinners. Lately, we’ve been having friends over on Sunday evenings for low-key dinners to relax and recharge before the week begins. It’s a great way to connect with the people we love, slow down and get ready for a productive week. Do you have any favorite recipes or rituals that help you wind down on a long Sunday?

  • New design books. We love a good coffee table book, especially when it’s one that features beautiful interiors and tips for creating a space that’s all your own. Lately, we’ve been admiring Abode: Thoughtful Living with Less, from the owners of San Francisco’s General Store, and At Home in Joshua Tree: A Field Guide to Desert Living by Sara and Rich Combs, owners of the Joshua Tree House.

A Custom Leather Bench for KT in Collaboration With Lockeland Leatherworks

One of the best parts of our Nashville shop and showroom is that it’s large enough to share with our friends and fellow makers. Our friends at Lockeland Leatherworks share a space at the shop, which allows us to do the occasional custom project featuring our wood or metal and their gorgeous leatherwork.

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Recently, we created a custom bench for KT, a client of ours in the Gulch neighborhood in Nashville. KT is a regular client who we’ve gotten to know pretty well over the years, so we had a good idea about what he was looking for.

For the seat cushion, Joey from Lockeland Leatherworks created a leather cover with some gorgeous stitched details. He sourced the leather from Wickett & Craig Tannery in Pennsylvania, and he decided on their vegetable-tanned Milled Harness Leather because of its buttery, supple feel (Joey’s words, not ours — he’s the leather guy, after all). The cushion features reinforced French seams and contrast stitching to keep it sturdy and ensure that it lasts through years of use, as well as to add some beauty and obvious craftsmanship when you get up close.

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For our part, we created a hand-welded, powder-coated steel frame that would provide a sturdy base for the bench. We added some visual interest with the slatted bottom, but we kept the whole thing fairly minimal to really let the leather cushion shine. We love the end result — it’s equal parts modern and classic, it blends high style with long-wearing function and, best of all, it’s a perfect example of what we can accomplish when we collaborate with the other skilled artisans in our shop.

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Are you interested in commissioning a custom piece of furniture (or something else) from 1767? Let’s hear your ideas! Email us at hello@1767designs.com.

How-To Guide: How 1767 Communicates

One of the things that we get asked about most is how our business operates on a day-to-day basis. Some of you may know that we have a team that works out of our workshop and design studio just outside of Nashville, and while it’s a small group of employees compared to many businesses, this is the largest our company has ever been, and that certainly comes with some inevitable growing pains.

What we’ve found is that increasing the communication between teams and individuals is the best way to increase productivity and make things run more smoothly. Here are some of the platforms and general ideas that we use to communicate within our business, in hopes that it can give you some insight into how we make things happen (and maybe even help you to learn from our mistakes).

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  • Slack. We love Slack. Everyone loves Slack. You probably already use it and love it, too, but if you don’t, we highly suggest getting it. It makes it super easy to communicate all day long in an non-intrusive way, and it gets problems resolved quickly and easily. Think of it like a modern equivalent of AOL Instant Messenger, but with a whole lot more bells and whistles.

  • Monday. This project management program helps us to stay on track with everyone across different teams, so it’s a great way to process orders, make custom pieces and get everything shipped out without missing a beat. You can also color-code everything to your liking and create your own boards that work specifically for you and your needs.

  • Weekly check-ins. It’s become almost a running joke in today’s society that everyone hates receiving phone calls, but even in this age of text messaging, G-chatting and e-mailing, we can’t find anything that works better than a good old-fashioned phone call when you need to catch up at the beginning of the week. We’ve found that if things consistently seem to get off track or people between teams don’t interact much throughout the week, it’s best to jump on a call on Monday morning to plan things out and stay in communication.

  • Design consultations. Since we’ve shifted to doing more and more custom, commissioned pieces, we’ve found that it’s invaluable to meet with clients in either online or in-person design consultations to really hash things out. Some things can be done over email, but true to our business ethos, talking face-to-face (or even virtually) will always be our most productive way to really understand another person’s ideas.

  • Google docs. Whether we’re sharing best practices within the business, assembling instructions for how to complete everyday tasks or onboarding new team members, we always use Google docs to ensure that everyone can reference the same information and make edits across the board. We think that Google docs is an invaluable tool in terms of being able to quickly reference documents or collaborate on projects.

  • Instagram grid planners. Instagram is an valuable, creative tool for our business, and while some people may think of it as a necessary evil, we like to have fun utilizing Instagram to showcase our work (and hopefully reach as many people as possible). Since the ever-changing algorithms can be difficult to navigate, we use an app called Preview to plan out our grid in advance to keep things looking consistent, reduce headaches for our social media team and hopefully increase our chances of showing up in people’s feeds.

Have a question about 1767 as a business, or want to get started on a design consultation of your own? Email us! Hello@1767designs.com

Architect Spotlight: George Nelson

If you’ve been following along with our Architect Spotlight series, then you know that each month, we like to feature an inspiring architect and showcase some of their most famous works. As a business, we’ve been focusing more on custom furniture design lately, so we decided to take a look at one of our favorite furniture designers from the American Modernism movement, George Nelson.

The Bubble Lamp; Photo via    Eve Wilson for The Design Files

The Bubble Lamp; Photo via Eve Wilson for The Design Files

George Nelson didn’t set out to be an architect; as the story goes, he ran into the architecture building to get out of the rain while attending Yale University in 1924, and he was so inspired by the works inside that he decided to switch his major. We’re particularly drawn to stories like that because we don’t come from a traditional woodworking background, either — sometimes things just fall into place (with a lot of hard work, that is).

Soon after graduating, Nelson won an architecture prize and was awarded a year to study abroad and study architecture in Rome. While in Europe, he began writing for Pencil Points magazine, interviewing bigger names in the modernist movement and becoming a more well-known name himself. After returning to the US, Nelson became editor of Architecture Forum, constantly working to promote the idea that designers should try to better the world by making things that followed the rules of nature. While he wasn’t actually designing much at this point, we love how those years he spent really thinking about design and how it should function influenced his most famous works decades later.

Nelson began working as Director of Design for the Herman Miller furniture company in 1947, even though he had no experience whatsoever designing furniture (another reason we respect him so much: he made things happen and figured them out as he went along). Nelson was known for his ideas about useful, functional design, and he quickly injected those ideas into his designs for Herman Miller, producing iconic pieces and hiring some of our personal favorite designers like Ray and Charles Eames and Harry Bertoia to work for the company. Later, he went on to form his own George Nelson Associates, Inc., which continued to pioneer modernist design until the early 1980s.

The Sling Sofa; Photo via    1st Dibs

The Sling Sofa; Photo via 1st Dibs

So, what are some George Nelson designs that you may know? We’re particularly fond of the 1946 Slat Bench, which is still being produced today through the Herman Miller company; the 1947 Bubble Lamp is an icon of natural, modernist design that can still be purchased through Modernica; and the 1955 Coconut Chair, which embodies Nelson’s natural-yet-modern style and is still available through the Herman Miller company. Most in-line with our style, however, is the incredible Sling Sofa — with its low profile, leather upholstery and steel frame, this one is definitely a huge inspiration for 1767.

For more Architecture Spotlights, check out the full series on the 1767 blog. Want to create a custom piece of furniture based on a favorite vintage style? We’d love to collaborate! Shoot us an email at hello@1767designs.com to get started.

Our Favorite Things: January 2019

New year, new links! We’ve been taking major steps to increase productivity throughout our business this year, as well as to keep creativity flowing and to take time to step away when we need it. We’re hoping to take big steps in 2019, and we’re looking for inspiration wherever we can find it.

If you have similar goals in place for your own business (or just life in general), then we hope you can benefit from some of our favorite things that we found around the web this month.

  • Instagram grid apps. Have you ever tried using an app to plan out your Instagram grid in advance rather than posting on the fly? If you’re in a creative business, this is a great way to save time, get things looking cohesive and minimize time wasted on your phone. We recently started using an app called Preview and so far, we’re loving it.

  • Marie Kondo. Okay, so we’re definitely not the first to recommend Marie Kondo, her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, or her new Netflix show, Tidying Up. It actually seems like just about everyone is talking about Marie’s KonMari method lately, but if you’re late to the tidying game, it could be just what you need to get organized and refresh your space (and your life) in the new year.

  • This Whistler A-Frame. We’ve been lusting after A-frame cabins for a few years now, and there’s just something about this time of year that especially makes us want to pack a bag for a remote weekend away. We recently came across this Alpine Modern home tour featuring a family-friendly A-frame in Vancouver, Canada, and we haven’t stopped thinking about it since. If you want some serious travel inspiration (or even inspiration for a whole lifestyle change), make sure to check it out.

  • Design + build projects. If you follow us on Instagram, then you might have seen our announcement about expanding our design + build capabilities. We recently got our general contractor’s license and added an in-house interior design team, which means that we’ll be taking on more full-scale design + build projects, starting with Nashville florist Amelia’s Flowers new brick and mortar space.

  • Appointed planners. The start of a new year always makes us want to start a brand new planner. Even with so many calendar apps online, there’s just something about writing things down, which is why we love Appointed’s beautiful and functional planners so much. The only downside is that they sell out fast, so we’d suggest snapping one up.

Rian's Nashville Home Full of Custom Pieces

The only thing we like more than working together with our customers to create beautiful, functional custom pieces for their homes is working with our customers to create lots of custom pieces for their homes. Rian Dawson is that type of customer for us here in Nashville. We first worked together earlier last year on this floating bar, which was kind of a dream project for us. Once the project was done and installed in Rian’s home, he contacted us to create a few other pieces to really tie the rooms together. Rian’s interior designer, the talented Zoë Cullen, took the reins on this one, and we loved helping to bring her vision to life.

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If you remember, we created the floating shelves to act as a sort of hybrid bar and shelving unit. It features reclaimed wood from Layman Drug Co., a music production studio in Nashville housed in what was once a pharmacy back in the 1890s, a steel frame structure and glass shelves. The back of the bar is accented by mirrored elements for a bit of visual interest.

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Rian is a musician, so of course he has a killer vinyl collection. In his living area, we built some floating record shelves to both store the records and put them on full display. The reclaimed wood pops against the matte black wall, and his turntable sits just below. On the flip side of the wall is a fireplace, and we created a floating wooden slab fireplace mantle with just the right amount of rustic detail. We also added a custom metal fireplace grate beneath with a diamond shape in the center and arched details around the edges.

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To finish things off, we created an oversized custom mirror for Rian’s bedroom. The room is painted matte black with some really cool wainscoting, so Zoë wanted to add to the room without overpowering it. All it really needed was a giant bent steel framed mirror and not much else, so that’s just what we made him.

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Finally, Zoë came to us with a design for a solid white oak dining table to replace the round table Rian had in his dining area. While the new design is still round to allow for easy access throughout the open concept space, it has a slatted detail around the base made of white oak half rounds to add some unique detail. We built the table to Zoe’s specifications, and we couldn’t be happier with the finished product (or more excited to see it in Rian’s space).

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Want to get started designing your own space? Email us! Hello@1767designs.com or take a look at our past projects here.

Architect(ure) Spotlight: Georgia O'Keeffe's Homes

While we normally spotlight a favorite architect in this series on our blog, you guys seemed to really love our dive into Cape Cod’s Modernist homes last month. This got us thinking about other famous homes that we really love rather than particular architects, which led us to Georgia O’Keeffe.

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via O’Keeffe Museum

via O’Keeffe Museum

If you’re already a fan of O’Keeffe and her famous homes, then you know what we’re talking about. The renowned painter’s two New Mexico homes were often the backdrops in her paintings, and they both have this incredible sparse, yet lived-in feel that you just can’t replicate.

The first, Ghost Ranch, is located about an hour outside of Santa Fe in the high desert. One of the country’s first environmentalists, Arthur Pack, purchased the ranch and sold a piece of it to O’Keeffe because she loved visiting the area to work on her paintings. The ranch got its (undeniably badass) name because many years earlier, cattle rustlers would hide stolen goods there. To deter neighbors from poking around, they started a rumor that the area was haunted by spirits. The turn-off to the ranch was always marked by a large animal skull, but it wasn’t until O’Keeffe famously incorporated the skull into her paintings that it really became the unofficial symbol.

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via Architectural Digest

via Architectural Digest

O’Keeffe bought her second home, Abiquiú, in 1945. It would later become her home and studio, and while she previously spent only summers in New Mexico, she moved there more permanently after her husband’s death in 1949. Abiquiú was in ruins when O’Keeffe purchased it, but she lovingly restored the 5,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial-era home over the next four years. O’Keeffe lived and painted between Ghost Ranch and Abiquiú until 1984, when she moved to Santa Fe because of her deteriorating health.

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Via O’Keeffe Museum

Via O’Keeffe Museum

Today, you can take tours of both homes and even stay overnight, which sounds like a pretty dreamy getaway to us.